“I was very humbled, flattered,” Oetting said.
Oetting, who lived in Cleveland for about six years before moving to Knoxville to attend UTK, was nominated for the award because of his presentations about reusing vegetable oil to produce biodiesel.
One such presentation was given to the Cleveland Kwanisis Club last year.
The nontraditional student began giving presentations on his hobby to bring a greater awareness to his fellow students.
UTK professor Robert Keeton was the first person to ask Oetting to give a presentation on his project.
“I’ve been doing biodiesel as a hobby for ... probably five years,” Oetting said.
His interest in the alternative fuel began when gas prices increased after Hurricane Katrina.
Now, instead of it just being a hobby, Oetting is studying alternative fuel, and plans to have a career in the field.
“I know it will become a future profession,” he said.
Teaching at the college level is also something that appeals to him.
Oetting said he plans on moving back to Cleveland after completing his studies at UTK.
While the soon -to-be graduate has a few options, one he would like to pursue would be teaching about alternative fuel at Cleveland State Community College.
Oetting graduated from Cleveland State Community College.
The Chancellor’s Citation Award for Extraordinary Professional Promise is by nomination only and is approved by the academic dean.